Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday on the Homestead


Today not a whole lot got done around the homestead. We did do some housework, washed a couple loads of laundry and made dinner. I enjoyed the more relaxed day a lot. Tobin had an extra day off this week and it is always so great to have him home. He and I went to town one day this last week. We had errands to run and went out to lunch. Both of us enjoy our date times quite a bit. It is nice to get away and just have a little couple time.


When we left our home it was snowing. Not a lot of snow but enough to make the roads slushy. By the time we got out of the mountains and into the city it was just raining. I called the kids just before we were heading home and they said it had snowed all day. As we drove home it became more and more white the closer to home we got. By the time we crossed the bridge and were making it back to our home the roads were covered in snow. We came across 2 accidents and lots of flashing lights from police cars dealing with it all and tow trucks. Many people who were headed in the other direction (the snow was more intense as you drove eastward.. we were moving westward at this point) were pulling over to put chains on. We drove a little past our home and picked up Sierra’s friend. Her mom did not want to drive in the snow and I don’t blame her, I don’t drive in the snow either. Tobin is more experienced in snow driving having grown up in Chicago he got plenty of practice. When we did get home, well, I was just happy to be home and be out of all the mess.


By morning it was raining and all melting but tonight there is more snow in the forecast.. sooooo.. how much longer till winter is over???  I am trying to be patient and wait for spring. 


The kids are on vacation from school work and have enjoyed that. However I will be happy for us to get back into our regular routine. They have had friends over and have spent time at their friends house so I know they are enjoying there little break.


As I look into the New Year I get excited thinking about the changes I want to make. Something about a new year is refreshing. Like having a blank piece of paper that I can choose how I want to fill it all in. It is nice to have a time of reflection and to look ahead at new goals to accomplish. I don’t like the idea of resolutions, but instead I focus on goals. 


One of my goals this year is to work on simplification of my life. I have already started by thinking about my menu planning and cooking. This winter I am going to make much better use of my crockpot. I love having my dinner preps done for the day early on. This morning Emily put 8 chicken thighs in the crockpot and put salt and pepper on them. Then she mixed up a can of cream of mushroom soup (healthy kind.. organic, the brand is Amy’s) and ½ cup sour cream. She poured this over the top. At dinner time Leanne made a salad, I made some whole wheat oat dinner rolls and cooked some noodles. It was so easy to put dinner on. Right now I have a corned beef defrosting and will put that in crockpot tomorrow with potatoes and cabbage. 


Anyway.. meal planning is just one area I need to simplify. I will share some of my other areas soon.. 


Now it is time to go and watch an old tv show with Sierra. The boys are busy with their xbox and Emily and Leanne are working this evening watching Miss Margaret. So Sierra and I are going to watch an episode of Murder She Wrote and maybe one of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday on the Homestead


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Our family sure did. For the first time in many years we did not have any extended family join us. The kids were a bit down about that. However we had a small and simple Christmas morning that was very un-chaotic and enjoyable. We started a tradition (did not know it was going to be a tradition when we started this, lol) that Christmas morning breakfast is cereal. I don’t typically buy my kids cereal and when, on the rare occasions, I do I try and buy something that is as relatively healthy as possible. The kids would always walk up the cereal aisle at the store longingly looking at the sugary kid cereal. So a couple of years ago I bought them several boxes of it to eat on Christmas morning and they all went crazy about it.  So I did it last year too. This year before the kids got up I put the pretty Christmas table cloth on and set bowls and spoons with pretty cloth napkins all around the table. Each of them had a candy cane in their cereal bowl. I then set out several boxes of this year’s kid type cereal, a plate of cookies, sparkling cider and eggnog. They loved it! And I loved how easy it made Christmas morning. I did redeem myself from serving all that sugar for breakfast by having a big turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings (even stuffing made with my own homemade whole wheat bread) for lunch!


After socks and gift opening we had a nice lunch and then did something that we have never done before on a Christmas Day. We took the kids to the movies. We don’t go to the movies very often. I think Lord of the Rings 3 was the last movie we took the whole family to (and I am not a Lord of the Rings movie fan so it was rather boring to me). This time we saw National Treasure 2 and it was wonderful!!!   I highly recommend it. However since we are not avid movie goers we innocently thought that the theater would be rather quiet on Christmas day. Well imagine our surprise when we pulled into the parking lot to find it packed and people standing in line to see the movies. When we got up to get our tickets we found out that the theater and time slot for our movie was sold out! The next showing was over an hour away. We purchased the tickets to that one and waited. In the end it was worth the wait. We had so much family fun. To top off our day, shortly before we were leaving to go to theater it started snowing. We drove into the city in a white wonderland (at least until we got out of the mountains, after that it was just rain in the city). What started out as a day that seemed like it would not be as fun as times in the past ended up being one of the best Christmases for us. 


Now today I am inspired to clean, plan and get ready to move into the new year. I have lots of details to keep working on in several areas and am trying to get a handle on some organizing. 


The kids got up and are now busy putting away the Christmas decorations (I got this from my mother. She always cleaned up the day after Christmas). I always feel more motivated and excited for the new year when the Christmas décor is put away until next year. 


Tobin has a couple extra days off over the next couple of weeks so that will be nice to have dad home and he will have some shorter work weeks. Today he is doing some car maintenance on my little red Jetta, and has more details to knock off of his to-do list.


Leanne and I are going to sit down and finish getting her packet of info organized and assembled for her missions trip so we can get that sent in by the first deadline.


Dinner tonight may be turkey enchiladas. I need to go and get some rice soaked for this meal. 


I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday on your homesteads!


P.S... I had to share this picture with you all. Emily took this of our dog Ellie.. she said it was her Christmas picture, LOL.. 

Cathy H.. I thought you would especially like this pic.. 



Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve Day!



Well Christmas day is upon us! I have been quite busy this last week. It seemed to be a frenzy of packing orders and getting them out in the hopes I could do my part in helping to get them to my customers in time for Christmas. I spent so much time on this that I did not get my Christmas gifts finished… but I saw this coming and thanks to the internet was able to get some gifts sent to my daughter & son-in-law and grandson in time. Tobin and I put together a little box for my sister-in-law too and got that out, hopefully in time. So I think that about does it this year. Tobin’s dad, brother and wife are all local. Now I still need to finish wrapping the kids gifts .. do you notice a small note of not being well prepared here???  Yea, me too.. so next year the new plan will be… plan EARLY!  I am thankful to watch my little internet business grow and now I just need to make my own adjustments in how I deal with it all.. 


This weekend my girls and I did a bit of baking. We made lemon spritz cookies, chocolate spritz, cinnamon and sugar biscotti, small banana breads and got the peanut butter balls all made and now today we need to dip them in the chocolate to finish them and fudge to make. Plus we have turkey dinner preps for tomorrows Christmas dinner to do. This includes making the mashed potatoes (will heat them in the crockpot tomorrow), making stuffing and put it the fridge so I can stuff the turkey tomorrow morning, and some dinner rolls. And that should about wrap it up for this holiday! Tomorrow should be a fun and relaxing day with family.


Updates on Leanne’s mission trip… she has her needed number of prayer partners! We have a packet of information and things to do and send back to Teen Missions by the first week in January. One of those things was getting 16 people who pledged to be committed to praying specifically for Leanne. Yesterday at church Leanne got the remaining prayer partners. Now I need to get a release form notarized and a couple other details done and that packet can go out right after Christmas. We still need her work boots. They don’t call the training “boot camp” for nothing! LOL.. she has to arrive in leather work boots and wears them the whole two months. So we are trying to find women’s work boots.. not an easy task. It is like don’t women ever wear work boots? 


I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas holiday with your family remembering the birth of Christ. What a blessed time of year to remember our Savior who came to this earth so that He could give His life that we may have eternal life with Him. We have so much to be truly thankful for. What a merciful and gracious God we serve!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Homeschool Family (Had to Share.. :)

This was just so cute.. I had to share it..  A friend of mine (thanks Catherine!  ) on my boards shared this... 


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gingerbread House Party!


Whew.. what a day! But what a fun day! We had 16 children all making gingerbread houses yesterday.. We had a few issues.. like houses falling apart and had some tireless mom’s working to put them back together. The kids really seemed to enjoy themselves. 


Here are some pics of all the fun…












Emily was very happy with how it all turned out.. and I was too. She is already making plans for next years party!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Gingerbread House Party Preps..


Well tomorrow is the big day.. 16 young children will be here at our home making gingerbread houses. We did this last year and it was a great success so we are doing it again this year.. only with twice as many kids.. we may have a tradition starting here.. 


Emily and Leanne love making gingerbread houses. Usually they make a big one each year. This year with Emily working and Leanne very busy they decided to forgo this tradition. But they really wanted to still have some gingerbread house fun.. so planned another gingerbread house party. They both stayed up one night till the wee hours of the morning making dough and cutting out house parts. 


Here are the house parts all stacked and ready for Saturday:




Today and tomorrow morning she will be making frosting, lots of frosting..  There are two types of frosting to make.. one the “glue” that holds the houses together and the other is what you spread on the house to make the candy stick.


The kids will start arriving tomorrow at 10am, except for my friend Sarah and her kids. They will be here tonight and spend the night with us. Each of the children arriving will be bringing candy and a sack lunch. Emily and Leanne get them started right away gluing the houses together and then while they dry the kids eat lunch and she has some games planned and maybe sing some Christmas songs. Then after the houses dry comes the fun of decorating the houses. The party is usually over by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. 


While this is going on, the mom’s help when needed and do lots of visiting along with tea, coffee, cocoa drinking.. and cookie eating. Emily and Leanne have also been making cookies, and today Sierra and I may make some more and maybe some fudge.. we will see how far I get today as I have a ton of other things to do too... 


I will be sure to post pictures of all the fun next week!


Emily has used this website for ideas, patterns and recipes:  However the owner of the site has removed a lot of the patterns. If you go to the forum on the site you will find instructions on locating the patterns on line.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

LeanneĆ¢€™s Mission Trip


Well I do believe the reality of my daughter Leanne’s mission trip hit home yesterday when we went and applied for a passport. I think up to this point it was all talk.. and now it looks like the ball is rolling on this.


Leanne has had and interest in missionary work for some time now. Her trip to Mexico really lit a spark in her and she wanted to do more. She talked with our pastor and he recommended looking into Teen Missions International. His son along with a few other young people, from the church he pastored several years ago, went and he has known of others who went and gave them an enthusiastic recommendation. So Leanne began to research this and pray about working with this organization. We prayed about it, looked into it ourselves and discussed this and decided that if this is where her heart is at then we would support this. 


In October she signed up for the summer of ’08. She received her packet of information, her prayer cards, donation forms and such in the mail along with instructions on what to do next, which said to apply for her passport immediately, among other things. 


She will be going to an orphanage in Egypt to work. The whole missions trip will last 2 months. She has 2 weeks of training in Florida, then it is on to Egypt for a month and then 2 weeks of debrief in Switzerland. 


So yesterday as we were applying for her passport I thought.. oh my, she really is going!  Of course the trip has it expenses and I am very proud of her determination in this. Almost every penny she has earned since coming home from Mexico has gone right into her missions trip fund. She herself has already earned over half what is needed and we are trusting that Lord will bring all these details together for her in time. 

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Friday on the Homestead


Wow, it is Friday already.. this week just flew by… Christmas and the New Year will be here before I know it.


I am in a Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions) mode again. I have incorporated a lot of her methods, like soaking grains and beans, but my ability to do this regularly is not a matter of habit yet. It takes a lot of pre-planning! So when life gets busy I fall back into my regular habits (which are still healthy! ). This week however, I made beef stock for the first time. I started it on Tuesday using about 7lbs of beef soup bones, onions and carrots. I let simmer for 26 hours. Then strained it and put it in the fridge on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday morning I pulled it out, skimmed all the fat off the top and proceeded to make soup for last nights dinner. Also on Wednesday night I put some rice on to soak with water and yogurt in it. I cooked this up on Thursday. I added some beef stew meat to my stock and let that simmer for several hours and then about 1 hour before we sat down to eat I added some frozen organic green beans and chopped up some organic carrots. Then added some cooked brown rice. The soup was delicious! I have some left today which I am sure will get eaten for lunch. The only seasoning I added was a little bit of salt. Talk about a lot of flavor and nutrition! I am going to make some more this weekend and freeze it into small portions for use in other recipes. I am trying to avoid as much MSG and all its various names in my food. My hubby has reactions to MSG and just does so much better without it in his diet. 


Today I am going to make her Jamaican Beans & Rice. I got the beans soaking last night and still have rice leftover from yesterday so it should be easy to put together. I also got some flour soaking with yogurt for pancakes for breakfast this morning. Now to get some Latin Sauerkraut made so I can serve the black bean tortillas next week.. 


I finished my afghan a couple of days ago. I like having something to work on in the evenings. I figured since I did not have a lot of time to work on it that it would be a slow project, but amazingly it went together very quickly. It was an easy pattern and that was nice because I could sit and watch tv with the kids in the evening while I crocheted. Here is a picture of it…




On my to-do list today is to fill orders and get some oils measured out for soap. I need to make a couple types of soap and make some lotion. I think the lotion will be made tomorrow. I also have Christmas projects to work on. Someone asked me to share what I was doing for my projects, and well.. I would but I have family members who read my blog and I don’t want them to know..  I will share after Christmas!  In the meantime I do have some Christmas ideas on my site. 


I have more questions to answer that people have asked on my blog.. and I will get them answered as soon as I have the time… 


I need to get my son’s Christmas box out to him today too. I probably will send him another one before the month is up but I wanted to make sure he got this one in time. 


My daughter Emily is planning another gingerbread house making party for her siblings and their friends. She did this last year. She made all the gingerbread house parts and frosting and everyone who was invited brought the candy. The kids really enjoyed this a lot and were asking her to do it again this year, it is now a tradition.. LOL.. just remember, you do something once with a kid a it is a tradition!


Hope you all have a great Friday on your homesteads!



Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday on the Homestead

We attempted to go to church this morning but the roads were to slushy and snowy so we came home instead. I took my Sunday nap and when I got up Emily had been busy making sugar cookie dough and the boys (Jacob, Isaac and their friend Andy) were busy cutting out Christmas cookies (although some looked a bit more like space aliens then Christmas cookies, ). Now they are decorating them with frosting and sprinkles (with Sierra’s help). Emily was not sure the boys were enjoying this by the way they were acting but I assured her they were very much having fun… but since they were guys they had a reputation to uphold and could not appear ‘to’ into this.. LOL.. 



My week was nice. Tobin and I went to town one day and then his weekend was kind of cut short by a mandatory FAA class he had to take at work. He had to go into work during the day and had the night off, so it gave us the next day free. We spent the day at home taking care of a lot of little details. We have this running “to-do” list that was getting rather long so it felt good to have a day checking things off the list.


Sierra has been baking cookies for us pretty regularly and last week she made a real simple and very yummy drop sugar cookie recipe. Here is the recipe:


Super Easy Drop Sugar Cookies
These are easy to make and go great with a cup of hot coffee or tea


1 cup cane juice crystals

1 cup powdered Sucanat (powdered sugar will work if you can’t find the powdered Sucanat)

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup olive oil

2 eggs

4 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 t salt

1 t cream of tartar

1 t baking soda

1 t vanilla


Combine very well with a mixer the cane juice crystals, powdered Sucanat, butter and olive oil. Add eggs and beat well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop dough by small spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little cane juice crystals if desired. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. This recipe will make approximately 5 dozen cookies.



Now I am going to go and work on some of my Christmas gifts that I am making this year. Hope you all have a blessed Sunday on your homestead!